I am a nature lover and passionate about knowing everything there is to know about deer, which is why I wanted to dive deep and answer the question on every farmer and fruit tree enthusiast’s mind: do deer eat fig trees? In this blog post, we will explore the answer to this question and provide tips on how to protect your orchard from deer damage.
Deer are known to have a varied diet that includes leaves, fruits, and twigs of various plant species. While fig trees may fall within the range of plants that deer feed on, they are not a preferred food source. Deer usually consume fig trees when they are hungry and cannot find other food sources.
Young fig trees and those with low-hanging branches are more accessible to deer. However, mature and taller fig trees are usually safe, as deer find it difficult to reach their leaves and fruits. Overall, it is uncommon for deer to eat fig trees unless they have no other food choices available.
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Do Deer Eat Fig Trees?
You might be surprised to know, but no, deer usually don’t eat fig trees! Deer tend to consume fig trees only when they are hungry and can’t find any other palatable food. As fig trees grow taller, deer find it challenging to reach their leaves and fruits, making them relatively safe. But, young fig trees with low-hanging branches and young tips, which are easy to access, can be targets for deer.
Do Deer Eat Figs and Fig Leaves?
While figs are often a delicacy for humans, deer don’t seem to share the same enthusiasm. Although it varies from region to region and season to season, deer generally don’t like fig fruits because of their white latex sap covering, which they avoid during feeding. However, deer may eat the leaves of fig trees, primarily the younger ones, as they are more accessible to them.
Why Deer Usually Avoid Fig Trees
As mentioned earlier, deer usually avoid feeding on fig trees, whether it’s their leaves or fruits. The primary reason for this is the white latex sap present in the fruits along with the tips and stem. Trust us, the deer doesn’t like this as much as we hate the taste of medicines. Therefore, it’s relatively rare for deer to predominate on fig trees unless they have no other food options available.
Instances When Deer Might Snack on Fig Trees
Although deer don’t usually eat figs and fig leaves frequently, there are instances when they might. These occasions are when the deer are hungry, and there’s a scarcity of food. In such situations, deer may consume the leaves of fig trees, primarily young ones, as they have younger and more tender leaves, which are more palatable.
Is Fig Wood Toxic?
Fig wood contains a sap that may cause irritations or allergic reactions in some people, but it’s not considered toxic. However, when it comes to deer, we can’t say the same. While deer don’t consume much of the wood, it’s always advisable to keep them away from the wood of fruit trees, including fig trees.
Can a Fig Tree Recover From Deer Damage?
It’s possible for a fig tree to recover from deer damage provided that the damage is limited. If deer only consumed a few leaves or damaged a few branches, the tree would recover. However, if deer have damaged the trunk or consumed a large number of leaves, it may take some time for the tree to recover fully.
How To Protect Fig Tree From Deer
Deer can cause extensive damage to fruit trees, including fig trees, especially in areas with high deer populations. To protect your fig trees from deer damage, here are some tried and tested methods that can work:
Installing a deer fence around your orchard or garden area is one of the most effective ways to protect your fruit trees from deer. A deer fence will physically prevent deer from accessing your fig trees and other plants. The fence must be at least 6 feet high as deer can jump up to 6 feet and 8 feet high if you live in an area with large deer populations.
Individual Tree Cages
If you can’t fence your entire orchard, you can always individually cage your fig trees. These individual cages should be at least 6 feet in height and have a diameter of around 4-5 feet. Ensure that the cage’s top has a tight-fitting lid that prevents deer from jumping in. Overall, with a little effort and some preventative measures, you can keep your fig trees safe from deer damage. From installing a deer fence to individually caging your fruit trees, you can choose options that work best for you and your family.
When it comes to keeping deer away from your garden, planting deer-repelling plants is an effective and natural solution. These plants are known for their strong scent that repels deer, making them an efficient barrier against wildlife damage. Some of the plants that are effective in repelling deer include marigolds, mint, Tansy, garlic, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, and lavender. These plants not only offer protection against deer, but they also add a lovely scent and color to your garden. The beautiful flowers and foliage of these plants can help transform your garden into a lush and inviting space.
Deer-Resistant Alternatives for Fig Trees
If you’re looking for a deer-resistant alternative to fig trees, consider the American fig tree. These trees are known for their sweet and delicious fruit, making them a popular choice among gardeners. American fig trees are generally hardy and well-suited to a variety of soil types. When planting, make sure you choose an area that gets plenty of sun and is well-drained. Keep in mind that, like all fig trees, they require a fair amount of pruning and maintenance to keep them healthy and productive.
Alliums are members of the onion family and are known for their strong scent and pungent flavor. While these qualities make them a popular ingredient in many recipes, they also make them unappealing to deer. By planting alliums in your garden, you can help keep deer away from your other plants. Alliums come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them a versatile addition to any garden. Some popular allium varieties include onions, garlic, and chives.
Aromatic herbs such as mint, thyme, and basil are also effective in repelling deer. These plants are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice among gardeners. Aromatic herbs not only offer protection from deer, but they can also be used in cooking and to make tea. Plus, their lovely fragrances can help create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere in your garden.
Lavender is a beautiful and fragrant plant that deer find unappealing. Its distinct aroma is not only effective in repelling deer but can also attract beneficial insects to your garden. Lavender comes in a variety of colors and sizes, making it a versatile addition to any landscape. As a bonus, its gorgeous flowers can be used to make fragrant sachets and potpourri.
Solanaceous vegetables such as peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are also effective in repelling deer. These plants are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice among home gardeners. Solanaceous vegetables not only offer protection from wildlife damage, but they also produce delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables that can be used in a variety of recipes.
Artichokes are another great option for gardeners looking for a deer-resistant alternative to fig trees. These plants are hardy and easy to grow, making them a popular choice among gardeners. Artichokes produce large and delicious edible flowers and can add a unique and beautiful element to any landscape. Keep in mind that while artichokes are deer-resistant, they do attract other pests, so it’s important to monitor them closely.
Rhubarb is a popular and versatile plant that is also effective in repelling deer. It is easy to grow and produces delicious and nutritious stalks that can be used in a variety of recipes. Rhubarb is also an attractive plant that can add color and texture to any garden. Keep in mind that while rhubarb is deer-resistant, it is toxic to other animals, so it’s important to keep pets and other wildlife away from it.
While fig trees are not usually preferred by deer, they can be vulnerable when they are young or have low-hanging branches. To protect your fig trees from deer damage, consider using deer fencing or individual tree cages. Planting deer-repelling plants around your fig trees can also help to deter deer from feeding on them. Alternatively, consider planting deer-resistant alternatives such as American fig trees. With proper care and maintenance, your fig trees can thrive and produce delicious fruit for years to come.
Olives are another fruit tree that deer may occasionally resort to chewing on. While olives are not a preferred food source for deer, their leaves and fruits can sometimes become a part of their diet.
This will make it harder for deer to hide and approach olive trees unnoticed. Additionally, covering each olive tree with a wire mesh cage can keep deer away while also preventing other predators from accessing the trees.Another effective strategy is repellent sprays and solutions.
They have a strong sense of smell and can detect ripe fruits from a distance, making olive trees an easy target.Protecting olive trees from deer damage involves using a combination of strategies. The first line of defense is to make sure that surrounding vegetation, including grass and weeds, is kept low and trimmed.
Young olive trees are most vulnerable to deer damage, but mature trees can also suffer from it. Deer typically cause the most damage during the fall season when food choices become scarce.
Currants are a vitamin C-rich fruit that can be a valuable addition to any fruit orchard. While they are not the most common target for deer, they may still attract wildlife looking for a quick snack.
Planting these around your currant bushes can create a barrier of unappealing scents and textures that deer will be less likely to penetrate.If fencing and plant barriers are not feasible in your garden, you can consider using repellents. Homemade or commercial deer repellents can be applied to protect currants from deer damage.
A sturdy fence, like a metal wire mesh or wooden slat, can deter deer from approaching your currants.Alternatively, you can create a buffer zone around your currant bushes by planting deer-repelling plants. Alliums, aromatic herbs like lavender, solanaceous vegetables, and artichokes are just a few examples of plants that deer find unappetizing.
Fortunately, currant bushes are relatively resistant to deer damage and are well-suited for moderate deer pressure. You can further protect their leaves and fruits by using fencing, repellents, and strategic planting.Fencing around your currant bushes can be an effective way to keep deer away while also providing visual appeal to your landscape.
How to Take Action
If deer are still giving you trouble, there are also more proactive measures you can take to protect your orchard. Installing motion detectors that are paired with water sprinkler devices can startle deer as soon as they are detected.
Deer can damage your fruit trees, but disrupting their activities can make them uneasy. Air horns and blinking lights are effective ways to achieve this. However, deer are a natural part of the ecosystem and have the right to access vegetation in their habitat. Of course, you want to protect your orchard, and finding ways to coexist is the best approach.
So, do deer eat fig trees? The answer is that they do only when they’re left with no other options. Figs aren’t high up on their list of preferred foods, so if you’re worried about your orchard, don’t panic just yet. However, if you have young or low-hanging fig trees, it’s essential to take steps to protect them from hungry deer.
There are plenty of ways to safeguard your fig trees, from using nets and fencing to using scent deterrents and scare tactics. Whether you opt for a DIY solution or invest in some more sophisticated equipment, protecting your orchard is worth the effort. Nothing beats the satisfaction of a bumper crop of juicy, ripe figs, after all – and knowing that you outsmarted those pesky deer.
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